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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mabinogi - Review

Prior to reading I'd like to notify current readers of this review that this post is well over a year old. This was posted around the time Open Beta for Mabinogi opened. This review has been updated by Seuro who has taken the time to write a response. His review follows mine.


So, I mentioned about Mabinogi in probably the most casual sense possible. So I will review it.

Mabinogi is a korean MMO (as if there are many MMOs that aren't korean nowadays)made by Nexon. This company is mainly responsible for bringing the official version of Maple Story (shudder), Audition, and Shattered Galaxy (Known as Tactical Commander in Korea). Generally, they're a big company and the localization of Mabinogi made me jump off my chair, fluff up the seat to fix the creases and yell out in joy.


I feel that Mabinogi is one of those games that pushes the MMO envelope of questing and click-grinding. There are many aspects to character development that make this game amazing.

I'll start off with all the casual "Life" stuff that is capable. In general, Mabinogi is a very freeform game that gives users a variety of jobs to handle. Here's the catch, there are no job classes. Your job is determined by the choices you make and what you want to do. You want to be a master cook and open up a shop? Do it. You wanna be a tailor and customize clothes for people? Do it. You want to be a musician and compose and play songs for people on the street for food money? Do it. You want to simply play casually, not really in the game, but need something to kill time? DO IT. What I'm about to say isn't a comparison. Rather, it's just a statement. If you liked RO, and enjoyed the open nature of it, you'll like Mabinogi just as much. With light ambient music, and decent graphics, it's the RO2 you wish happened but didn't.

Now for battle system. I can hear your thoughts. "Hey Zerreth, it's an MMO, it's just another point-and-click-grindfest. What the hell's the difference? If you rave on about skills, then isn't that just pointless?" Yeah, you're right. Funny thing though, if it were like that, then I wouldn't be talking about the battle system, now would I?
The battle system itself is actually very simple, and the general course of battle is straight forward. However, it's a bit different from a point and click. After setting battle mode to manual, you can control the attacks of your character. Generally, your character has a set of 4 or so moves. Normal attack, Smash, Counter, Defence. There's magic and other physical skills but if I told you all that, then it wouldn't be fun would it? Also, like some other games, these 4 moves generally have a Rock Paper Scissors element to them. Smash breaks defense, defense breaks normal, normal breaks smash, and Counter breaks other physicals (so magic is the key against counter). However, your weapons all have a combo number on it, for example, some weapons have a combo of 2 and others have a combo of 3. Depending on your timing, and your luck dungeon crawling can be easy and hard, but not matter what, it will keep you on your feet. Casting any skill besides normal attack takes time to prepare (aka casting time) and so you can't just pull of smashes and defense so quickly. Timing is key and with good strategy, and teamplay battles are.... fun. (Oh my god I said it. I said battles are fun in an MMO)


Another aspect of the game that's interesting is age. Unlike any other MMO (though if you can find one, I stand corrected) your character ages. Depending on the game server, and what they set it to, your character will grow one year every week or so. This is a really cool aspect of the game. You can create your character at 10 years old and after playing a year or so, you've got an old man, with a beer belly bashing monsters.

Character customization is really amazing. Besides being able to customize the weapon you own, you can hire tailors (other players who've dedicated themselves to tailoring) to customize clothes and change colors for you. It's like the paint dye system in RO, except you can modify everything about the clothes. This also helps in guilds where a dedicated tailor could tailor emblems and color sets for other members.

There's a subtitle for Mabinogi. It's "Fantasy Life" and I'll stand by it really. When you become a tailor or a muscian, your stats and additional skills don't help in battle. It's not like, when you become a bard, you learn skills to destroy monsters with music. You just play it, and so you can get by not fighting at all. It'll probably be harder, but it's possible. NPCs are programmed to have a "relationship" factor with your character. They remember who you are, if you've failed any quests, how often you've worked part-time for them and depending on what kind of person you are and your relationship with other NPCs, they can actually like you or hate you.


Now for the bad parts.

Since it is an MMO, there is grinding. Lots of it. Whether it's harvesting potatoes, milling corn, or bashing monsters, there's grinding. You may become more proficient because of grinding, but you're still grinding. There will always be grinding, no matter what form it takes. Get used to it. Mabinogi, in general, is a demanding game. Sure, it's a fantasy life, but it can also easily end up being a second job. Because of the "age" system, it may feel more like it than not.

You can technically get every skill in the game. It doesn't mean you'll be proficient at everything, but it's possible. Does that hinder me? Not really, but I know some who like having very defined specializations, and it really isn't a cakewalk from the start. Technically, you CAN start specializing your tailoring or music playing early on, but with such a low level, getting enough materials and money to support yourself while specializing is hard. You can do part time jobs, but the better ones often get filled up very quickly. Since it's still early in terms of when open beta started, everyone generally looks the same. You have many who have begun to tailor, but there's a lot of people who look too similar. Also, the newer generation skills haven't been unlocked yet and so, there's a limit to how well you can specialize a "job."



This ends my review. The following is a comment posted by Seuro, none of which are my words but I feel I should add, not to harass him, but for carefully wording out all the issues that have arisen between my post and his. You can continue reading or continue on to his review.

I honestly have to say I disagree. There are so many things wrong with this game that you do it more justice then it deserves. For those who would be otherwise interested here's a review which chooses to accept the glaring difficulties.

First of all. The economy. Because of the severe lack of itemization everything that shouldn't be, is, extremely overpriced and difficult to get. Most people go without armor, and armor generally remains useless to you for the entire game. (Unless you are, say, a master of defense, of which several I knew, and even then they needed fully upgraded armor and that's very expensive) what helps add to this problem is that rewards from chests and quests (and the lack there of) are not very rewarding at all. You don't get very much gold. You don't get good loot, and enchanting is extremely risky business.

Because of this, this makes going into high level dungeons extremely difficult and unsatisfying. Why run Barri Advanced for four if I can just run Barri Normal for the same shit rewards/money doing two or three runs in a fraction of the time? Seriously.

I find your review to be further biased by the idea that skills being free to train as you please is a 'good idea'. It isn't. If you don't train all the necessary skills you will not excell. I have seen level 1000+ players complain about BOAL Final. Boal. G3. You do G1, that's not so bad, it has a good level curve, it's easy to do, and storywise it's rewarding. G2 is a bunch of running around and really not achieving much in due course of story, and G3? Forget it. G3 is a fucking joke. Finishing g1 and g2 doesn't take anymore then a month to do playing regularly. G3 requires you to be absurdly over leveled for the curve. That's not grinding, that's plain poor game making. Add to all that the absurd amounts of multiaggro from enemies and no real to control that aggro and you have shit sink full of fuck. And I mean that in the most non offensive way possible. Many dungeons are completely impossible without windmill (at least one person with windmill anyway) and that is not okay. That's BROKEN. That is BROKEN gaming. It is 'literally' the only skill you will 'ever' need in a party.

In other words you will always be trying to get stronger but you'll never quite be there. No matter how strong you get you will rarely venture into harder dungeons. The few people who do exceed level 2000. I know, I played for well over a year cause I kept praying and hoping things would change cause I generally adored the way I did combat. It wasn't all point and click, and honestly? That's it's only redeeming feature.

I think you need to get out and play some different games. Mabinogi is a great concept but everything about it is extremely poorly executed. The leveling system takes ridiculous amounts of time (even with free rebirth)

Your review refuses to point out the glaring faults in this game. The dedication it takes to level up just to run certain KEY dungeons goes beyond rational thinking. Again, I think you should reconsider what games you have played and are playing. I know, I know. Sure it has a place in your heart. Good feelings and cheer at all. Still, the best part of this game is the beginning. I thoroughly enjoyed that, but that was all, and that is not enough. In the beginning the rewards and story will pull you in but it will never be enough and the gear you have will generally always feel useless unless you have leveled it up and are fighting enemies which simply won't one hit you. Most dungeons will always have enemies which can do so.

Mabinogi just isn't that great man. There's just so much more and so much better out there. I hope you get something out of this.

37 comments:

Hawk-McKain said...

Howdy, just wanted to say I appricate the review! I've never really trusted big review sites since they seem to always sugar coat things =/

In anycase, I'm glad to hear combat will be fun even with the other grinding. It almost comes across as an MMO RuneFactory =3

Zerreth said...

I thank you for leaving a comment. Sometimes I get afraid that I may just be writing this for myself to look back upon at some point. Perhaps it is, but it feels good to know that there are others who read.

LuluAng said...

Ditto on that. Great review. It's funny how other review sites insisted the game wasn't grinding and glossed over the gameplay details. I think I'll check out the game now tho I do hate grinding. Thanks again for the review.

murka said...

thanks for the review.. i'm downloading it now
it seems quite an interesting game

Anonymous said...

Great review with one detail easily overlooked. In the more advanced levels of play (bigger tougher etc) you need a team and teamwork. There is room for the lone wolf but it is a sad, lonely and very slow road.

bboysneaky said...

thanks for that thorough review, needed to read some legit reviews b4 I played the game and I hope it's good

turion64x2 said...

heh nice review.
i liked the way you wrote it.


just next time tell theres an ip block :p

Chochopocky said...

I play the game before I read the review, lol, your review is very good and acurate! Who knows... maybe we can become review writers lol.

Ronin-Sage said...

Thanks a lot for the review. I'd installed the game last week, but for some uninstalled(was turned off by the amount of p2p domination in the initial customization), because I didn't see anything special about the game. Your review actually changed my mind(which is saying a lot, because I'm quite the know-it-all/factualized-opionator).

Anonymous said...

Your review is just absolutely amazing.... i mean u summarize the whole game in a page.... thats just amazing! keep up the good work man! and by the way... you lured me into play mabinogi! :)

Anonymous said...

thanks for the review! ill download the game, it sounds pretty fun

Harry said...

...what's RO?

Zerreth said...

It's Ragnarok Online.

Anonymous said...

Great review. I'm a big fan of Mabinogi, even though I'm terrible at it. However, since it was written a while back, it doesn't address my biggest criticism of this game: the insane premium system. In order to experience the game to its fullest, you have to pay a monthly fee, IN ADDITION TO REBIRTHING once in a while. Come on Nexon.

Kolea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kolea said...

Ive been playing mabi for long time now and I wanted to thank you for taking the time to write this. Ive seen many reviews on mabi and yours has all the characteristics needed for a good review.

peter said...

sorrry im like a total noob but whats grinding

Zerreth said...

The concept of RPG "grinding" refers to a couple things. The first being a constant repetition of killing monsters for sub-percentile exp gain (kill 4 of this monster to acquire .30%EXP). It's a concept used by many developers to get players to play longer. Honestly, it's an effective ploy for pay to play MMOs as the margin of gain in getting experience becomes a "second job."

In another sense, "grinding" can now refer to nearly anything that takes a long amount of time to get results. Mind you it's not just a single action taking a long time, rather a single action repeated probably several thousand times to achieve "high skill." In some ways, it adds "realism" to RPGs and some companies (like the developers of Tabula Rasa) apparently try to claim that such a thing doesn't exist "in their game", which is a joke...

Vakian said...

nice review man,i only played the japanese version of the game,and i love it,i would like to play the english version but i am in europe so for the moment isnt possible

Darya said...

Great review, it has some points but it was very thorough.
I do play this game, and I like it alot, but the battle system is very repetitive and does get boring, plus the mainstream quests are hard and expensive, and consume alot of time.
Also, if you aren't a big online-spender, this game probably isn't for you. If you ever want to have fun on this game you have to spend almost $25+ a month. I'd say Mabinogi is one of the good games but there is better out there.

Anonymous said...

You should update you review. They have made generation 1-3 free. Meaning you can become a paladin and then choose to become a Dark Knight or White Knight. Also making your spirit weapons has been made free as well. Meaning when you get one of yours weapons to a profiency of 100 you can imbue them with a spirit using a spirit stone. Mounts are also available through NX and you can rebirth for FREE at age 20. Meaning if your level 30 and you've reached age 20 you can rebirth back to age 17 at level 1. You keep all your skills and stats and add on to them by leveling all over again. I'm sure you know this its just to the people that might be reading. Do you play in the Ruari server by the way? Would be awesome if you coule e-mail m ewith a reply to this message at
h4xordelta@yahoo.com. Sorry im using the schools computer right now and im positive i wont remember to check back on this website in a day or two so just email me and ill reply as soon as possible. Also GREAT review. Tells the game how it is. Im a potion maker :D haha

Anonymous said...

Not only can you become a dark knight or a paladin, but there's two new races: Elf and Giant, who have their own 'ascended' versions called Falcon and Savage Beast. The two races are at odds against each other, provoking a lot of PvP between players. I'm not a fan myself of PvP but, it's there for those who do.

Mabinogi IS a demanding game and will leave you poor and out of gold constantly. Between equipment, repairs, materials, books you need to advance skills, what have you, it empties out your mabi-bank like nothing else. I enjoy it, none the less.

Anonymous said...

Wait, but this depends on what you define as "grinding". Grinding is generally any activity that requires you to do an activity that has no variation repeatedly over an extended amount of time such that it becomes boring tedium.

If the game can make the boring activity actually fun to do and not seem like work, then it isn't grinding.

Zerreth said...

You're right. But let's say you're training up Windmill to Rank 1. I'd believe that training that up would be considered grinding and to be honest, probably more tedious and more work-like than usual because you then have to fulfill specific conditions to acquire exp for that skill. If you find it fun to look for specific enemies that satisfy the condition for your windmill, then it just might be a difference in opinion.

Then there's a handful of resource gathering for non-combatant types.

And then there's the actual leveling up. I'd be pretty sure that finding Ciar passes and going for Fiodh dungeon runs constitutes as "grinding." Yes, there's a bit more variation, but when you get to the point where you're doing "dungeon runs," I'm pretty sure it can be considered grinding.


I know that the Elf and Giant patches are out and that there's a new continent, but wherever you go (in any RPG), there's grinding, it just comes in different forms and densities of the grinding itself in relation to how crucial the progress from grinding is to the game.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Lord. Getting windmill to rank 1 was a chore. I would consider that grinding. Especially since the best and almost only way to do it is to use it over and over again (On zombies.)

Thanks for the review, I'm glad someone finally got one right, At first glance the game seems a little bit hard to understand, Making friends would probably be the key aspect of this game, as it would be in any other mmo. Friends make this game alot easier.











Tarlach server ftw?

Anonymous said...

I honestly have to say I disagree. There are so many things wrong with this game that you do it more justice then it deserves. For those who would be otherwise interested here's a review which chooses to accept the glaring difficulties.

First of all. The economy. Because of the severe lack of itemization everything that shouldn't be, is, extremely overpriced and difficult to get. Most people go without armor, and armor generally remains useless to you for the entire game. (Unless you are, say, a master of defense, of which several I knew, and even then they needed fully upgraded armor and that's very expensive) what helps add to this problem is that rewards from chests and quests (and the lack there of) are not very rewarding at all. You don't get very much gold. You don't get good loot, and enchanting is extremely risky business.

Because of this, this makes going into high level dungeons extremely difficult and unsatisfying. Why run Barri Advanced for four if I can just run Barri Normal for the same shit rewards/money doing two or three runs in a fraction of the time? Seriously.

I find your review to be further biased by the idea that skills being free to train as you please is a 'good idea'. It isn't. If you don't train all the necessary skills you will not excell. I have seen level 1000+ players complain about BOAL Final. Boal. G3. You do G1, that's not so bad, it has a good level curve, it's easy to do, and storywise it's rewarding. G2 is a bunch of running around and really not achieving much in due course of story, and G3? Forget it. G3 is a fucking joke. Finishing g1 and g2 doesn't take anymore then a month to do playing regularly. G3 requires you to be absurdly over leveled for the curve. That's not grinding, that's plain poor game making. Add to all that the absurd amounts of multiaggro from enemies and no real to control that aggro and you have shit sink full of fuck. And I mean that in the most non offensive way possible. Many dungeons are completely impossible without windmill (at least one person with windmill anyway) and that is not okay. That's BROKEN. That is BROKEN gaming. It is 'literally' the only skill you will 'ever' need in a party.

In other words you will always be trying to get stronger but you'll never quite be there. No matter how strong you get you will rarely venture into harder dungeons. The few people who do exceed level 2000. I know, I played for well over a year cause I kept praying and hoping things would change cause I generally adored the way I did combat. It wasn't all point and click, and honestly? That's it's only redeeming feature.

I think you need to get out and play some different games. Mabinogi is a great concept but everything about it is extremely poorly executed. The leveling system takes ridiculous amounts of time (even with free rebirth)

Your review refuses to point out the glaring faults in this game. The dedication it takes to level up just to run certain KEY dungeons goes beyond rational thinking. Again, I think you should reconsider what games you have played and are playing. I know, I know. Sure it has a place in your heart. Good feelings and cheer at all. Still, the best part of this game is the beginning. I thoroughly enjoyed that, but that was all, and that is not enough. In the beginning the rewards and story will pull you in but it will never be enough and the gear you have will generally always feel useless unless you have leveled it up and are fighting enemies which simply won't one hit you. Most dungeons will always have enemies which can do so.

Mabinogi just isn't that great man. There's just so much more and so much better out there. I hope you get something out of this.

Zerreth said...

There's a reason I stopped Mabinogi. A very good reason, and to be honest I agree with all points. The bad points of the game outweigh any good points. If you looked over the blog a bit, you'll notice that Mabinogi is NOT in "Zerreth's picks" and never will be.

One of the main reasons that everything has become so ridiculously expensive is because of a gold dupe that Nexon never addressesd (as far as I know). Needless to say, that's a problem that has smashed the economy.

The story writers (for the Korean servers) changed at some point between G2 and G3 which explains why Nexon (both us and Kr) rushed both generations so quickly.

I appreciate the feedback, and while at the same time, I'd like to refer you to the post date: March 18, 2008. A date near the start of Open Beta.

Now if you only decided not to anonymous, I would have been able to credit you. I'll update the review with your additional comments. Thanks for taking the time to write.

Seuro said...

I honestly could have went on. There's also the idea that the life skills which are so favorably mentioned are equally difficult to level as combat skills.

The gold dupe glitch? No the economy has always been bad. Furthermore the glitch was addressed. The problem comes from a severe lack of ability to saturate the money with quality items and the competition is bad due to it.

The materials it takes to build quality items (or even cheap items) are so difficult to acquire because almost all of them will require leather or cloth and the difficulty in getting them from monsters which is the only way, just fuels the problem. Then you have the balance of the races, pvp.... it's just a mess. I just felt like it needed to be stated.

It really is just problem after problem. You can just refer to me as Seuro if you like. I was a pretty well known critic of the game while I played it. Often flamed by the biased. I can admit the kind of fun the game offers but the problem was it's lasting.

I apologize for not noticing the picks you mentioned. I probably should have looked. My focus was primarily on the post and the comments. I really couldn't resist it either. A friend pointed me to your blog. She's a big fan of the game too. *facepalm* Anyway. My apologies on any particular information I may have over looked in my reading. It was a big post and there was plenty of comments.

Seuro said...

The excursion has interested me to write a review of my own on the game. Maybe something that's a little more user friendly. I'll give you a link to my blog.

Forgive my double post.

http://sortoflayman.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

U need to update it.. After playing flyff for SOOOO long i was sick of mmos until i played mabi.. It actualy makes you THINK hwen your fighting a monster :3

Anonymous said...

NEXON sucks

That's all you need to know

Anonymous said...

Hey, really appreciate the review. I think it was smart of you to put up the other persons review... Definitely gave two sides to it. I'm gonna have to research it further though... Tired of downloading crap games. Anyway, thanks again, you rock.

Aerith said...

'Grinding' is consistent in Mabinogi but i can look past that since there is so much more to do than fighting monsters i think the game is soooooo fun i could play it 24\7, but i can definetely agree that money making can be time consuming and just plain annoying and as soon as you make money you lose all of it. Those are the only 2 things that i believe are bad about this game i really recommend it

Aerith said...

'Grinding' is consistent in Mabinogi but i can look past that since there is so much more to do than fighting monsters i think the game is soooooo fun i could play it 24\7, but i can definetely agree that money making can be time consuming and just plain annoying and as soon as you make money you lose all of it. Those are the only 2 things that i believe are bad about this game i really recommend it

Anonymous said...

Just a note.

I've been playing Mabi since Open beta. Literally, the first week, second day.

Nexon, has taken this promising game and utterly run it into the dirt via gross mismanagement.
Player populations are way down,with some areas being deserted.
The number of new players (who are not farm or spam bots) has also seen a sharp decline. between few new players and nexon all but chasing off it's long time players I don't see this game lasting much longer.

Which is too bad. If they only would put some effort into actually managing it, it could be both very fun for the players, and make nexon a lot of money.

" Such Wasted Potential " is the best epitaph for this game.

Anonymous said...

I used to play on the American version. (proxy, that kind of stuff)
I even spent a lot of money on it for pets and premium stuff.
When I heard that the European version was coming out, I was super hyped and started a new character and left all the money I spent behind, but then I quit Mabinogi.
I then started trying different MMO's but none of them suited me, so I started playing Mabinogi again. Currently waiting for the cash shop.

Anonymous said...

Um hey guys, i just wanted to tell all of you who are big fans of the game how you're being brainwashed into wasting your money. I sure was. I've played this game for roughly a year and ended up spending $400 on it. Yeah, some Free-To-Play this was. Sure every F2P game favors the ones that do pay, but this game was by far the worst. i payed $40 a month for rebirths, but i still somehow fell short on everything. In my opinion, if you have money to spend on a game, spend it on a good one, not on a bunch of false advertisement. And if you don't have any money to spend on games and you want a really good one, play Vindictus, it pretty much dominated mabi in everything and its hardly been out for a year (Mabinogi has been out for 7) ;)